No rest for the wicked! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) makes a quick return to the hurt business tonight (Sat., Dec. 1, 2018) to stage UFC Fight Night 142, which will take place inside Adelaide Entertainment Center in Adelaide, Australia. In the FOX Sports 1-televised main event, Junior dos Santos will battle Tai Tuivasa in a meaningful Heavyweight showdown. In the co-headlining act, Shogun Rua will look to get back on track against Tyson Pedro.
Junior dos Santos is looking to collect back-to-back wins for the first time since 2012, if you can believe that. “Cigano” has been alternating wins and losses over the last six years. And while that has been good enough to keep him employed and in the spotlight, it won’t do him any favors when it comes to getting another title shot.
If he can take out the young hungry lion who is Tai Tuivasa, it will demonstrate that that he isn’t ready to be a division gatekeeper and is possibly primed for another championship run. Tuivasa, however, has proven he can take out the biggest of them, knocking out every single one of his opponents in the first round with the exception of one — Andrei Arlovski. The hard-hitting big man is looking to jump into the championship mix quickly, and a win over “JDS” can do just that. But, for as long as “Cigano” has been taking damage inside the cage, he still packs a punch and can turn out anyone’s lights if he connects clean. It’s a battle of old vs new, which could be over in the blink of an eye.
Meanwhile, Mauricio Rua, it seemed, was on the cusp of earning an unexpected title shot against Light Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier a few months ago. Then “Shogun” ran into a brick wall by the name of Anthony Smith, who turned Rua’s lights out in the very first round. Now, the long-time veteran will look to get back into the win column against another young up-and-coming star in Tyson Pedro. While Pedro has shown potential inside the cage, he has had a few hiccups, including in his last fight — a submission loss to Ovince Saint Preux — as well as another loss coming at the hands of Ilir Latifi. Indeed, a win over “Shogun” will be a huge confidence-builder and give him a good notch on his resume over a pretty big name.
In addition, Mark Hunt will look to put an end to his two-fight losing streak when he takes on fellow big man Justin Willis. Justin has been perfect inside the Octagon thus far, winning all three fights, bringing his streak total to seven. But, Hunt is an entirely different beast from what “Big Sexy” has faced so far in his career, as the long-time veteran can still sleep a baby elephant if he finds his opening.
Original Card vs Actual Card:
Former M-1 Global Lightweight Champion Damir Ismagulov stepped in to face Joseph Duffy after Ross Pearson bowed out of the contest with an injury. Then a few weeks later, Duffy bowed out, too, ultimately getting replaced by newcomer Alex Gorgees. Also, Elias Garcia was pegged as a late replacement against Kai Kara-France after Ashkan Mokhtarian was forced out.
Aside from Joseph Duffy’s injury, Pearson suffered a broken nose during training, while promotional newcomer Ashkan Mokhtarian was forced out of his Octagon debut with an unspecified injury.
Undefeated Suman Mokhtarian will bring his 8-0 mark to the Octagon when he faces fellow newcomer Sodiq Yusuff — a product of DWTNCS — in Featherweight action. Jim Crute — also undefeated at 8-0 — takes on Paul Craig after making a splash on Dana White’s fight series. Kai Kara-France will bring his five-fight win streak to the Octagon to face off against Elias Garcia. Former M-1 Global Lightweight champion Damir Ismagulov will face off against Alex Gorgess in his Octagon debut after getting the call on short notice.
How The “Prelims” Look:
Longtime Octagon veteran Yushin Okami is still going strong and will headline the preliminary portion of the event when he battles Alexey Kunchenko, the standup specialist who has yet to taste defeat in his mixed martial arts (MMA) career. It will be a tough test for the former M-1 Welterweight champion -- who defeated Thiago Alves in his debut — but a win should boost his stock even further.
It will be an M-1 reunion of champions on this portion of the card, as the promotion’s 155-pound champion Damir Ismagulov stepped in to face Joseph Duffy on short notice. However, Duffy (as mentioned earlier) was later replaced by newcomer Alex Gorgess. Damir brings with him an 11-fight win streak to the Octagon, while Gorgees has yet to taste defeat in six fights.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Hunt has dropped his last two outings to Curtis Blaydes and Alexey Oleynik, marking the first time he’s suffered consecutive defeats since 2014. While “Super Samoan” doesn’t exactly envision finishing his career inside the Octagon, losing three in a row won’t look good for any promotion when it comes time to negotiate.
While Hunt’s name value can still get him paid, it can only carry him so far at this stage in his combat sports career. A win will not only give him some leverage and confidence, but may even spark some fire in him to remain in UFC to finish what he started.
Interest Level: 7/10
It’s actually a pretty decent line up as far as the main card is concerned. dos Santos is ready to prove his best days are not behind him by showing he can still hang with the young pups. But, if Tuivasa can dust him up, “Cigano” may want to think about sitting on the porch for a bit before facing another fighter 10 years younger than him. Tuivasa can match Junior’s power, so this bout should be an all-out war.
Also, we get to see if “Shogun” still has what it takes to be relevant in the 205-pound division, which seems to be getting younger and younger. The Brazilian has accomplished quite a bit in his extensive mixed martial arts (MMA) career, and his mark has already been set. But, like many before him, he is still taking on the young talent, collecting paychecks, and doing what he loves most. While he had a mini resurrection of sorts last year, Smith dashed his championship dreams rather easily. If Rua can take out Pedro, I’d like to see him face another legend in his next bout.
The rest of the hard features plenty of young-and-up coming talent looking to make names for themselves on free television, so we should be in for a good night of fights.
Full Fight Card:
UFC Fight Night 142 Main Event
265 lbs.: Junior dos Santos vs. Tai Tuivasa
UFC Fight Night 142 Main Card (10 p.m. ET start time)
205 lbs.: Tyson Pedro vs. Mauricio Rua
265 lbs.: Mark Hunt vs. Justin Willis
170 lbs.: Tony Martin vs. Jake Matthews
135 lbs.: Suman Mokhtarian vs. Sodiq Yusuff
205 lbs.: Paul Craig vs. Jim Crute
UFC FOX Sports 1 ‘Prelims’ (8 p.m. ET start time)
170 lbs.: Alexey Kunchenko vs. Yushin Okami
125 lbs.: Ben Nguyen vs. Wilson Reis
170 lbs.: Keita Nakamura vs. Salim Touahri
125 lbs.: Kai Kara-France vs. Elias Garcia
UFC Fight Pass ‘Prelims’ (7 p.m. ET start time)
155 lbs.: Christos Giagos vs. Mizuto Hirota
155 lbs.: Alex Gorgees vs. Damir Ismagulov
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